Change is inevitable. Change is constant. We see this all around us but, specifically in nature. In this post for Inspire Daily, Mike Morris tells us about his eden, his every changing garden and his tree of heaven.
Sitting in my lounge, looking out on to my garden, I feel like the luckiest man alive. My view is through a bay window, large, almost floor to ceiling. The garden, south facing, is blessed with resplendent light giving it clarity and sharpness.
It’s like watching ultra HD, the colours are rich and striking.
I sit and watch and listen as often as the busyness of modern life permits. Other than an aging red brick wall with uneven cement beds, every day brings with it a new surprise.
Change, without fail.
Big skies. Sweet flowers. Borders and beds. Tall laurels. Butterflies and bumblebees. Birdsong. Cherry trees. A willow tree. And my favourite tree of all, more elegant even than the willow, a Tree of Heaven.
Over the course of the calendar year I get to see it all. In witnessing it I am part of it and get to feel one with the Universe. Its splendour is a treat and nature is a great teacher; looking out is a regular reminder that the only constant is change.
In our own lives we put as much energy as we can muster into denying this truth.
We resist change at every turn.
We know deep down it is as futile as trying to stop the tide but we are afraid and search out safe harbour. We like things as they are, or rather we don’t but we prefer them to the discomfort of change.
In our own lives we can take heart from nature’s seasons. Life has its own seasons. When things look bleak stop thinking this will last forever. Ok things are tough, you are in Winter right now. The good news is, Spring is just around the corner. The sun starts to feel warm on your face and it’s a time to plant new seeds. It’s a time of new life and growth.
So when you are walking through that storm in the winter of your life, trust the cycle of the seasons. The spring always arrives. You may have to be patient but the rhythm of the seasons gives hope and builds resilience. Later you have the joy of summer to look forward to followed by Autumn when you get to reap the seeds you planted in the spring.
My favourite tree, the Tree of Heaven, is so called because of its eagerness to reach up to the sky. Whenever I look at it, it speaks to me:
“You are thinking too small”
Naked or covered in the lushest of leaves its magnificence inspires me to think bigger. On winter days it can be exposed to the fiercest of gales. It doesn’t resist, it goes with it. Inclement weather is not its enemy. A strong wind makes this tree’s roots grow deeper which supports the tree as it grows taller. In the conditions that appear the least favourable the tree builds soundness and durability. It grows, becoming the very best version of itself it can.
In our own lives, conditions are not always to our liking.
We work hard to keep things as they are. We resist. In contrast I watch my favourite tree bend and sway gracefully when the strong wind blows. It does not push back. It does not resist. The tree accepts the howling wind as a blessing.
The teaching is for us to see inclemency in our lives as a blessing. Sometimes we are full of joy and strength. Sometimes we are sad and confused. It is who we are and how it is and has been since the dawn of time. Let us be inspired by nature, the four seasons, the Tree of Heaven. Let nature help us to choose a more fearless approach to life and help us make sense of suffering
Just as we would like to control the weather, we look for ways to control life. Knowing, understanding and accepting that life can be difficult is important work, work of the tallest order. When we do this work we see the blessing in life’s difficulties. We begin to transcend suffering and get taken on a pathway to freedom. It isn’t the most comfortable route… it’s the road less travelled but it is the most fulfilling and ultimately the one that brings us happiness.
So when the going gets tough remember the lessons of nature. Have courage but do not judge yourself harshly.
Or in the words of Ram Dass:
“Hang in there and be gentle with yourself”
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